Stocks rebound on drop in unemployment claims

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose today, a day after suffering their worst losses in seven months.

The government said first-time applications for unemployment benefits dropped last week to 385,000, a bigger fall than economists expected.

A separate report showed consumer prices edged higher in February. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent last month, slightly stronger than forecasts. Core prices, which exclude food and fuel costs, edged up 0.2 percent, the same as the previous month.

Financial markets were gripped by fear over Japan’s nuclear crisis on Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average had its biggest loss since August, nearly erasing its gains for the year.

The Dow rose 153, or 1.3 percent, to 11,767 in morning trading today.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 15, or 1.2 percent, at 1,271. With Thursday’s gains, the Dow and S&P 500 are now up more than 1 percent for the year.

The Nasdaq rose 30, or 1.2 percent, at 2,647.

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